Health & Safety Information
On behalf of the entire Mohonk family, we’d like to welcome you back to the mountaintop. We look forward to providing the same level of service and hospitality expected from a timeless Mohonk experience, while ensuring health and safety of all our guests and staff.
Our team has worked hard to create to modify the guest experience, making health and safety a top priority while keeping your Mohonk vacation complete with delicious food, unforgettable hiking, and plenty of outdoor adventures. Please take a moment to review our new procedures that will be expected during your upcoming stay. Please contact us directly at email@example.com if you have any additional questions.
A Letter from our Lead House Physician, Jeffrey Weinberger, MD
Generations of the Smiley Family have taught us a deep love and respect for Mother Nature. I think of Albert Smiley holding and admiring a flower, and Dan Smiley studying acid rain’s impact on the “sky lakes”. Urbanization and industrialization brought the Smiley’s and their guests to the beauty of the mid-Hudson Valley. Spiritual and physical rejuvenation are central to the spirit of the Mountain House.
Over the past several months Mother Nature has sent us a nasty “curveball” known as the Covid-19 pandemic. In responding to this, I think NY Times columnist Thomas Friedman says it best: “We need to re-open and to adapt, but in ways that honor Mother Nature’s logic….and not in ways that challenge Mother Nature to a duel….because she hasn’t lost a duel in 4.5 billion years”.
In this context the Mohonk leadership, at a critical moment in the history of the Resort, has rapidly adapted to keep our beloved Hotel and grounds protected. Mohonk shut its doors early enough to ensure the safety of Guests and Staff. In retrospect, this rapid move likely prevented cases of the virus showing up at the Mountain House. Over the past few months detailed plans have been made to re-open on June 15th. This would not have happened without a marked decline of new cases in the area. It parallels the health industry itself opening up doctor’s offices and outpatient hospital services to preventative health care and elective procedures.
With endless hours of work a new set of strict protocols has been developed using CDC and New York State guidelines. A top infectious disease specialist has been consulted to critically review these recommendations. In addition, the protocols have been shared with Staff physicians who have been on the front lines of the pandemic in facing Covid-19 related issues on a daily basis in their own practices. I personally work in southwestern Connecticut, where in March and April our community hospitals were in the center of “the battle”. Daily health briefings from our local specialists have kept us up to date as our understanding of the virus rapidly changes.
Close scrutiny of the protocols all come down to keeping anyone suspected of Covid-19 quarantined away from the Hotel. Guests in the Hotel are asked to practice good hygiene and physical distancing. This is similar to the rules of a physician’s office. As we open up for routine physicals we will be seeing our febrile patients virtually. We simply want to keep our offices safe.
With the re-opening of Mohonk, Staff Physicians will be available 24 hours a day throughout the summer months. In addition to daily office hours we love to sit down with you and discuss your health concerns. We are here to serve you!
The Covid-19 Virus
Corona Viruses are a normal part of our environment. Roughly a third of “common colds” are caused by the virus. The “SARS” virus is also a corona virus that ran its course over a period of 6-8 months. The “MERS” virus that hit the Middle East was from the Corona Family as well. The Covid-19 virus came from an animal source and represented a “new” or “novel” virus strain with little natural immunity in humans. In this sense it is very similar to the novel strain of influenza, which occurred in 2009 (H1N1). It is unclear why some viruses seem to hang around a long time, while others only threaten us briefly.
Testing for the active virus involves nasal swabs for “antigen” or “PCR”. If done properly both swab tests are accurate. There is confusion in interpreting a positive test in someone who is several weeks into the illness. A nasal swab test may stay positive but not necessarily mean the person has live virus that is transmittable. At the peak of the crisis access to tests was difficult and now they are finally becoming more widely available.
The nasal swab also represents only one point in time and may need to be repeated if there is new exposure risk.
Accurate antibody testing is rapidly evolving as this is being written. Early “kits” for antibody testing have been notoriously inaccurate and higher complexity tests are becoming much more reliable.
Treatment specific to Covid 19 is a work in progress and numerous anti-viral medications are in trials. Most important has been meticulous supportive care.
The Crisis in a Historic Perspective
Across the Hudson River in Hyde Park, FDR educated all of us about leadership in a time of crisis. He taught us about trust earned through honest, sincere communication. In 1933 the entire American Banking System was in disarray. In his first Fireside Chat he planned the re-opening of Banks with the support of the Federal Government. In the speech he made clear that the success of this move was completely dependent on the principle of “we are all in this together”.
This translates directly to our getting through the end of this pandemic and the smooth re-opening of the Mountain House. Success depends on Guests, Staff, Security, wise leadership, and health providers sensing the historic moment at a historic resort, and rising to the occasion to protect and look out for the welfare of everyone. The late, beloved Bert Smiley taught us the simple, perfect philosophy of “always doing things right”. I get tears in my eyes as I think of that.
In closing, I believe we can all have a fabulous time at this 151-year-old National Treasure together by honoring the rules and each other! Have a great time!!!
Jeffrey H. Weinberger, MD
Mohonk Medical Staff
About Dr. Jeffrey H. Weinberger, MD
Dr. Weinberger did his undergraduate work at Cornell University where he received a B.A. in history. He obtained his medical degree from Albert Einstein in New York. His internal medicine residency was completed at Yale-New Haven/Greenwich Hospital. Dr. Weinberger is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Weinberger was appointed to the Medical Staff at Greenwich Hospital in 1982. Since that time he has worked as a clinical instructor of Yale University School of Medicine and been active on all the major Staff Committees at Greenwich Hospital.
When not doctoring he loves hiking, tennis, golf and swimming. He is passionate about reading American History. Dr. Weinberger has been coming to Mohonk for more than 20 years and has been a Mohonk House Physician for 12 years.